[NetBehaviour] <nettime> Srećko Horvat: We came to Hamburg to protest about G20 – and found a dystopian nightmare (Guardian) (fwd)

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri Jul 7 07:49:46 CEST 2017

>From Patrice Riemens on Nettime - thought we should see this -
(and apologies for too many posts this morning_
- Alan


Original to: 

We came to Hamburg to protest about G20 ? and found a dystopian 
The surreal hi-tech security dominating the city underlines the disunity 
among the world leaders and wider cultural anxieties about where we are 
being led

Sre?ko Horvat,
The Guardian, Thursday 6 July 2017

Arriving in Hamburg this week feels like entering a dystopian nightmare. 
As the city prepares to host the G20 summit this Friday and Saturday, 
many roads are blocked and high-security zones have been established. 
More than 20,000 police, many heavily armed, are patrolling the streets, 
backed up by drones and the latest surveillance technology. Helicopters 
are permanently ?parked? in the clouds, so the sound of their rotors 
becomes a sort of background music you soon stop noticing. Perpetual 
police and ambulance sirens, emergency lights and water cannons 
accompany the orchestra of power.
Hamburg braces for G20 violence as tensions rise over police tactics

Walking on through the streets ? I am here as part of the DiEM25 
(Democracy in Europe Movement), which I co-founded with Yanis Varoufakis 
and thousands of progressive Europeans ? this dystopian scene starts to 
feel surreal. It is as though you are trapped in a ?post-truth? 
hallucination. Beside roadblocks and police checkpoints, I stumbled 
across a new ad for a popular German cola, depicting Donald Trump, Recep 
Tayyip Erdo?an and Vladimir Putin calmly sleeping ? with the inscription 
?Mensch, wach auf!? (?Man, wake up!?).

The message is an appeal to the politicians who have supposedly closed 
their eyes to global wars, terrorism, the refugee crisis and climate 
change. On the other hand, it is a wake-up call to all citizens of 
Hamburg and beyond to organise and stop sleepwalking into a postmodern 

The current Hamburg incarnation of G20 is very different to the two most 
significant G20s so far ? in 1999, which was an attempt to create global 
governance after the Asian crisis, and in 2008, in response to the 
financial crash.

While the ?traditional? G20 was unified in either promoting or 
implementing the so-called Washington Consensus, it seems the new G20 
can only agree to disagree.

When it comes to globalisation, Angela Merkel continues to push the idea 
of free trade, while Trump hews to protectionism. At the same time, even 
China?s ?panda diplomacy? reveals that those who are supposed to be main 
allies can?t agree on the meaning of globalisation in the first place. 
Or as Merkel put it herself, after the Chinese gave Germany two giant 
pandas just ahead of the G20 as a token of friendship: ?Beijing views 
Europe as an Asian peninsula. We see it differently.?

And then there?s the fact that after Trump?s withdrawal from the Paris 
agreement, there is clearly no consensus on how to finally tackle 
climate change. And even if the rest of the G20 seems in agreement, as 
nations they still provide four times more public financing for fossil 
fuels than to renewable energy.

The recent escalation in the Gulf is another source of incongruity. 
Despite the fact that everyone, from Trump to Theresa May, supports the 
?fight against terrorism?, they continuing to make lucrative arms deals 
which then subsequently fuel Isis. The Saudis themselves have booked the 
entire Four Seasons hotel in Hamburg, behaving like kings even in 

Myriad contradictions are evident in Merkel?s policies: she prevents 
Erdo?an giving speeches to his supporters in Germany, while at the same 
time is not ready to stop the controversial EU-Turkey refugee deal. Or 
Germany complaining over Trump?s isolationism while it imposes its own 
EU financial policy without coordination with others.

And here we come back to what is still missing in the German wake-up ad. 
The problem is not that the leaders of the authoritarian world ? Trump, 
Erdo?an and Putin (plus the Saudis and Chinese) ? are asleep: they know 
very well what they are doing ? and they continue nonetheless.

The real problem is the dogmatic slumber of the leaders of the free 
world, represented at this G20 summit by Merkel, May and others, which 
is the origin of our current dystopian nightmare (wars, terrorism, the 
refugee crisis and climate change). In this sense, the current G20 is 
not just a demonstration of disagreement on all fronts, but ? after 
Hamburg ? whether the G20 can continue to exist at all.

? Sre?ko Horvat is a Croatian philosopher
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